A garden lookout

Record rainfall over the last few months have prevented me from spending time in the garden. We have had snow, wind, hail and low level flooding! What a winter!

I guess this little fellow is waiting patiently for my return. Shortly, I will be able to show off my new veggie patch and restored chicken house – now a potting shed! Waiting for the sun and some warm weather. Look out for my posts soon.

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A Garden Odyssey

November is the time when all the magnificent Open Gardens are on display. I visited one such garden this morning in its splendour. Set on eleven acres and around one hundred and forty years old, Dreamthorpe, is a woodland wonderland with unique garden architecture and, my favourite, the wistful, wisteria walk!

Of course, my interest is stone walls, as I described in my last blog on the Edna Walling cottage garden. As I entered the property, a magnificent stone wall welcomed me beside manicured green paths.

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A unique garden also displays unique garden architecture. This garden was no exception: terracotta urns, classical statues, wildlife habitat and some modern pieces.

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This one is reminiscent of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and good times. This garden revels in its own beauty!

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Fancy a new home for your bird life?

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Yes, I did promise some modern garden pieces – which do you prefer?

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However, it was the design layout and the plants themselves which stole the show. Here are but a mere snapshot of their breathtaking beauty….

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A wall of pink rhododendrons.

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a hedged narrow path – leading where?

To a lake, of course!

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My favourite was this spectacular lavender wisteria walk – magical, secluded and other worldly!

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This property is more notably recognised by its row of gothic ancient cedars which, on a cold, foggy night, are eerie sentinels watching over the garden.

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Dreamthorpeis a must see in autumn and in spring. Open gardens give us inspiration and preserve the magnificence of nature in all its variety and possibilities – an odyssey any garden lover would like to undertake.

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Edna Walling Cottage

Edna Walling was one of Australia’s best known landscape gardeners. Both a gardener, writing for the1920’s publication Australian Home Beautiful and an accomplished photographer, she was commissioned by many distinctive owners, including the Murdoch’s of Cruden Farm.

Last night we stayed in a cottage in the Dandenongs, one hundred kilometers from our own home on the Mount, surrounded by her signature garden features – walled gardens and sweeping stone stairways. It was a delightful stay. The cottage was charming and our hosts friendly and accommodating. The property, known as Mawarra is referred to in many publications as one of her greatest achievements.

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Edna’s memoir recalls the eureka moment when she suddenly understood something fundamental about how to develop her design style. At this time stone walls as a design feature, had rarely been used in public or private.. She was to describe Mawarra as a “symphony in steps and beautiful trees” and predicted that it would “weather into greater beauty as the years went on – she was right.
(Harding, Sue. The Unusual Life of Edna Walling, 2005, Allen & Unwin, 72-3.)

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She also incorporated sundials, rock gardens, garden seats, sculptures and garden rooms, to name but a few.

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The beauty of the surroundings is enhanced by her garden features.

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a delicate, pink clematis

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It was the stone walks which captured my interest as well as the stone steps which meandered throughout the property.

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We both enjoyed this quiet and distinctive retreat. It made us appreciate what we also have in our garden – own own stone walls, garden rooms and flowering specimens.

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A wonderful experience and what a historic garden to wake up to each morning – a sheer pleasure.

Those special garden features

Father’s Day at a heritage listed mansion, Rippon Lea, built in1867 yielded its many treasures both inside and out. If you’re looking to upgrade your garden feature any time soon, here are my top ten suggestions

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A Romanesque pool

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With extra fountain!

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A lady in waiting…

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A thatched gazebo

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A wind powered water source…

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Some wagon wheels – strategically placed, of course

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A pot or two …

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A little lake.

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With a foot bridge…

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And a lake house…

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Some rock feature..

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To top it all off, a tower from which to view your vast garden empire!
I think I overshot my photos to twelve top garden must have’s.
We had a lovely day sitting in the sun – our first warm day and just in time for spring. Happy Father’s Day Dennis!